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South American Coati (Nasua nasua)

  • South American Coati (Nasua nasua)

    Common Name/s: South American Coati 
    Scientific name: Nasua nasua
    Brazilian common name/s: Quati

    Quick facts (average values with minimum and maximum in parenthesis)

    Body length (cm): (47-58)a  Tail (cm):  (42-55) a Diet: Omnivorous a,b
    Weight (kg): 5(3-7) a,b Height (cm):  Home range (km2): (0.23-12)b,c
    Litter size: 3(1-7)b Gestation (days): 74-77b Longevity (years): 
    Social structure: Solitary and groups a
    Activity pattern: Diurnala

    a (Emmons & Feer 1997), b (Gompper & Decker 1998), c (Beisiegel & Mantovani 2006)

    Physical description
    The colouration is highly variable, but generally the pelage is a brownish maroon across the back and yellowish-brown on the ventral part. The tail is ringed by white bands on a dark background. Coatis have a long thin snout with a flexible tip.

    Habitat and Ecology
    Occurs in South America from east of the Andes to Argentina. They are found mainly in forested areas and are active mostly during the day.
    They have a generalist, omnivorous diet and can be important for seed dispersal and forest regeneration (Alves-Costa & Eterovick 2007; Alves-Costa et al. 2004; Beisiegel & Mantovani 2006; Hirsch 2009).
    Coatis have a very interesting social system in which all females and males up to two years old form groups of up to30 individuals (Emmons & Feer 1997). Males more than 2 years are expelled from the group and become solitary. During the breeding season, a male is accepted into each group, but remains submissive to the females.

    Threats and Conservation
    Classified as least concern by the IUCN ( However, populations are declining (Emmons & Helgen 2008) and this species is sensitive to loss of forest habitat (Michalski & Peres 2005; Michalski & Peres 2007).

    Online links
    IUCN redlist ( presents a summary of current knowledge on distribution and conservation status.

    Alves-Costa, C. P., & Eterovick, P. C. (2007). Seed dispersal services by coatis (Nasua nasua, Procyonidae) and their edundancy with other frugivores in southeastern Brazil. Acta Oecologica, 32, 77-92.

    Alves-Costa, C. P., Da Fonseca, G. A. B., & Christofaro, C. (2004). Variation in the diet of the brown-nosed coati (Nasua nasua) in southeastern Brazil. Journal of Mammalogy, 85, 478-482.

    Beisiegel, B. M., & Mantovani, W. (2006). Habitat use, home range and foraging preferences of the coati Nasua nasua in a pluvial tropical Atlantic forest area. Journal of Zoology, 269, 77-87.

    Emmons, L. H., & Feer, F. (1997). Neotropical rainforest mammals: a field guide. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Emmons, L., & Helgen, K. (2008). Nasua nasua. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.2. <>, , Downloaded on 04 July 2010.

    Gompper, M. E., & Decker, D. M. (1998). Nasua nasua. Mammalian Species, 580, 1-9.

    Hirsch, B. T. (2009). Seasonal variation in the diet of Ring-tailed Coatis (Nasua nasua) in Iguazu, Argentina. Journal of Mammalogy, 90, 136-143.

    Michalski, F., & Peres, C. A. (2005). Anthropogenic determinants of primate and carnivore local extinctions in a fragmented forest landscape of southern Amazonia. Biological Conservation, 124, 383-396.

    Michalski, F., & Peres, C. A. (2007). Disturbance-mediated mammal persistence and abundance-area relationships in Amazonian forest fragments. Conservation Biology, 21, 1626–1640.

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